Facebook’s newest feature hopes to make breakups less painful

Breaking up in the age of social media is a whole new level of heartbreak. Whereas before, you could make a bonfire out of their letters and photographs and borrowed t-shirts; nowadays, getting rid of the evidence isn’t quite so easy. Post-breakup, social media becomes a trail of digital breadcrumbs, leading you straight into a pit of despair over how good things once were. Those sweet Facebook statuses and cheesy Instagram posts suddenly turn sour — and no matter where you look, it feels like you can’t escape your ex’s face.

Even worse, everyone is so easily accessible that post-breakup social media stalking becomes a given. When you’re feeling miserable, you tend to embrace the misery full-force: We know the social media stalking is unhealthy, but we all do it anyway.

Lucky for us, Facebook is staging a much-needed intervention. On Thursday, the website announced that they’re testing out a set of new features to take the social media sting out of breaking up. According to a Facebook blog post, once someone changes their relationship status to “Single,” Facebook will prompt them with a set of “tools,” including options to hide your ex; hide yourself from your ex; and hide all evidence of your relationship from everyone who isn’t your ex.

Of course, “hiding” someone has always been an option on Facebook; but given how often the site changes its privacy settings, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out how the heck to do it. Facebook is taking all the fuss out of it and making it easy for you to get all the benefits of unfriending or blocking your former partner without actually having to do either. You can also simultaneously “[limit] the photos, videos or status updates that a former partner will see” — thus allowing you to control how much they e-stalk you.

Perhaps most extreme, however, is the option to edit who can see your past photos and posts with your ex; as well as the option to untag yourself from any photos/posts with them that you might not want to remember. The latter is the ultimate digital scrub, short of manually deleting everything yourself.

“This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives,” Facebook Product Manager Kelly Winters wrote in the blog post. “We hope these tools will help people end relationships on Facebook with greater ease, comfort and sense of control.”

When it comes to breakups, we’ll take all the support we can get.

(Images via Facebook, Shutterstock.)

Breaking up on social media: A survival guide

Things you should start doing after a breakup, like immediately